The first time you met with prospective clients you were probably nervous and sweaty. As a seasoned wedding professional, your meetings likely go more smoothly now.
If not, or if you’re unable to book clients at the first meeting, follow these tips to improve your skills. You should feel comfortable and confident, signing contracts with clients at the first meeting.
Prepare ahead of time
As for any meeting or interview, it is important to get yourself ready well beforehand. Consider the last interview you had. Could you have been more prepared? Should you have known more about the company or your own competition?
As a wedding pro, you know a great deal, but don’t assume you know everything. Prepare enough so that if the couple has questions that you aren’t ordinarily asked, you aren’t caught off-guard.
Ask the couple to prepare themselves as well. Have them peruse your website (where you happen to have fantastic client reviews). Give them an idea of your cost beforehand so they don’t feel stunned when you are face-to-face.
These days, most couples will ask your prices before meeting anyway. You don’t need to give them a specific number or price list, but do give them a price range.
Once you’ve been in the wedding business for a while, you learn that couples who don’t sign a contract at the first meeting are not likely to book with you. After couples go home and aren’t under time pressure, they tend to use trivial differences between wedding professionals to help them make their decision.
One way to get prospective clients interested and motivated to book with you immediately is to offer incentives. Tell the couple ahead of time that you offer incentives for those who book at the first meeting. This gives them the chance to invite decision-makers to the meeting and gets them excited.
Offer something worthwhile that won’t eat into your profits. If possible, present a few options so the couple can pick something meaningful to them.
Think of your first meeting as a first date
Dress to impress. This is your one-time chance to make a good first impression on your potential clients.
Consider the couple. Are they young? Do they live in a hip part of town? Did your mutual friends tell you that they have tattoos and body piercings? You might not need to wear a suit to meet this cool couple.
But if you’re meeting a couple who is bringing along parents, you’ll want to dress differently. When in doubt, dress conservatively.
Show, don’t tell
Don’t just tell the potential client how many weddings you booked last summer. Share stories, like the one about how you helped the Marshall family have the greatest night of their lives.
Prospective clients often ask about previous work, so be prepared to showcase your skills with a portfolio of some kind. Whether you’re a makeup artist or florist, bring a laptop or photo album with a sampling of your best work — just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to overwhelm the couple with too many examples.
Whether your work is displayed on a computer or in print, don’t sit silently while the couple looks through it. Engage with the potential clients and take them on a journey through your experiences. But don’t spend too long on this — you want to be focused on the project at hand!
Build rapport and trust
Remember that you’re there to learn about the couple as much as they want to learn about you. Ask the couple questions to find out about their needs. Listen more than you talk, thinking less about selling yourself and more about how you can help.
If for some reason you aren’t the right fit for this couple’s wedding, be honest. This establishes your character. Although this particular couple may not sign a contract with you, they’ll probably share your name with their engaged friends!
What do you think?